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No surrogacy, less anonymity in revised proposals to Embryo Protection Act

Government presents revised IVF proposals to parliament

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Plans to legalise altruistic surrogacy and anonymise gamete donation from start to finish have been dropped by the government in proposed amendments to the Embryo Protection Act.

Instead, the government is now proposing that altruistic surrogacy laws be discussed in a separate act and that children born from gamete donation be given the right to know who donated the gametes, once they turned 18.

However, donors would still have no way of knowing who their gametes went to, and the recipients would likewise not know who donated the gametes.

The government is also proposing changes to proposals to introduce embryo freezing, which have proven controversial.

Couples with frozen embryos would be granted an additional IVF cycle, free of charge, to encourage them to give birth to these embryos and to give all embryos the chance to be brought to term.

Health Minister Chris Fearne presented the amendments in parliament on Monday.

Opposition MP Claudio Grech welcomed the amendments to a Bill he said had been “drawn up in haste”. However, despite the fact that the government wished to begin the Bill’s committee stage quickly, the amendments mentioned by Mr Fearne had not yet been communicated to the Opposition.

Dr Grech challenged the Health Minister to say whether he agreed with those who said embryos did not have the same rights as adults, and said that the adoption of frozen embryos was an “insensitive compromise” intended to avoid oversupply.

The Opposition's decision to vote unanimously against the bill at the second reading stage, despite having been given a free vote, reflected a united stand against the amendments, he said.

Dr Grech also proposed the disbursement of a grant to those undergoing the IVF process, similarly to the grants which had recently started to be provided to those who chose to adopt.

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